The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Robbed

    13
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Groped

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Malaria

    5
  • Robbed

    5
  • Groped

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12